Our latest education snippet highlight looked at the use of Needs Analysis in the development of understanding musculoskeletal injuries or performance problems. Typically  Needs Analysis frameworks are used in business, design and technology settings. The primary aim of this technique is to develop an understanding of the unique requirements of the individual and implement changes based on this analysis. 

Now this type of description may appear self evident. Of course in performance settings we always aim to address the individual needs of the patient or athlete we are working with.But is that what really happens?

We have spoken previously about models such as Evidence Based Practice and how the evolution of this concept has led to the adoption of clinical guidelines, literature supported approaches. And for the most part this is what we should look to adopt as practitioners, however the growing trend in research particularly in the area of sports injury and performance appears to be intersecting at a junction of individual profiling.  It is clear that even the literature base is suggesting that there is a requirement to move towards the granular level of the individual. 

Two such examples that have caught our eye are from the performance and injury spheres. The first is the work that has grown enormously out of the lab of JB Morin and Pierre Samorzino in France. They have worked closely with a number of well renowned researchers and collaborators across the world to expand out the concept of force velocity profiling for acceleration and sprint performance. The premise of their approach is to develop an individual signature for the athlete that they are assessing to determine where they are placed in regards to how they create acceleration running performance and how the gaps can be filled and the strengths can be enhanced. This type of individualisation opens the door to creating unique interventions. 

The second example of using this concept of profiling and thus identifying the needs of the individual was highlighted in a recent publication looking at hamstring injury risk and the muscle typology. The University of Ghent Belgium study by Lievens et al 2021, looked at the Soleus muscle fibre type (Fast vs Intermediate vs Slow twitch) of Belgian and Premier League Soccer players. The study demonstrated that the fast twitch profiles who participated in soccer were 5.3 times more likely to sustain a hamstring strain injury compared with the slow twitch profiles. Now we will not look to analyses or interpret exactly what this means for professional practice here, but what it does highlight clearly is that identify the characteristics of the individual through a framework of analysis is likely to establish a much more specific approach to the intervention compared with using a standardized approach derived from an average of the participants in other research studies. 

In our next discussion we will look to explore how you can employ a Needs Analysis for your professional setting, however we hope that this brief discussion has made you start to think about whether you are using the best approach based on the average person, or the best approach based on the individual needs of the person you are working with.